Estimation of Important Scenic Beauty Covariates from Remotely Sensed Data
Blinn, Christine Elizabeth
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The overall objective of this study was to determine if remotely sensed data could be used to model scenic beauty. Terrestrial digital images from within forest stands located in Prince Edward Gallion State Forest near Farmville, Virginia were rated for their scenic beauty by a group of students to obtain scenic beauty estimates (SBEs). Since the inter-rater reliability was low for the SBEs, they were not used in the modeling efforts. Instead, stand parameters (collected on tenth acre plots) that have been used in scenic beauty prediction models, like mean diameter at breast height (dbh), were the dependent variables in regression analyses. A color-infrared aerial photograph from the National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) was scanned to achieve a pixel ground resolution of one meter. The digital aerial photograph was rectified and used as the remotely sensed data. Since the aerial photograph was taken in April, only conifer stands were used in the analyses. Summary statistics were obtained from a 23 by 23 window around plot locations in three images: the original image, a texture image created with the variance algorithm and a 7x7 window, and the first principal component image. The summary statistics were used as the independent variables in regression analyses. The mean texture digital number for the green band predicted the mean dbh of a plot with an R2 of 0.623. A maximum of 44.3 and 27.4 percent of the variability in trees per acre and basal area per acre, respectively, was explained by the models developed in this study. It seems unlikely that the remotely sensed forest stand variables would perform well as surrogates for field measurements used in scenic quality models.
- Masters Theses